Footprints

Since we did our handprints in the concrete at the soaproom, Mom wanted us to put our footprints on the barn’s porch. (Mom also suggested we do butt prints on the porch of the house, but Dad said no. LOL)

First, Ramblyn put the “broom finish” on the concrete – basically, going over the concrete with a broom to give it lines.

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We got a bucket of water to rinse our feet in afterward because uncured concrete can burn your skin.

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Jade’s feet wouldn’t go into the concrete – they had poured that concrete first, so it was too hard (and she didn’t weigh enough even with Mom and Lucky pushing on her feet) to make her footprint. We decided that she would get a bonus set of footprints on the other end of the barn.

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Lucky helped us push our feet into the concrete evenly. His hands were cold.

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So was the concrete, actually.

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Lucky picked the younger kids straight out of the concrete.  It was harder for the bigger kids (and Mom and Dad) to step out of the concrete evenly.

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But overall, the footprints came out really well!  Mom wrote our names by them again.

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I’m glad we put our footprints on the barn – it’s cool to see how much our feet have grown. (Well, my siblings’ feet – mine haven’t grown at all!)

Brett

 

 

Happy Birthday, Jim!

Jim and I met at The University of Virginia, so Thomas Jefferson is very important to us.  Here is an interesting fact – Thomas Jefferson was born on Jim’s birthday (April 13) and died on Jade’s birthday (July 4).  I always post the children’s birthday photos, and they insisted that I post Daddy’s birthday photos as well.

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Happy Birthday to my incredible husband!

PJ

Disney Wild Africa Trek

While we were in Disney World, we decided it was time to do something we’d never done before. The Wild Africa Trek! Indigo and Jade were too young, so while we were doing it, they went off and toured Animal Kingdom with some of Grandma’s friends.

I can honestly say that this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. It was a three hour guided tour where we got to walk over the hippos and alligators, learn some swahili, get really close to some of the animals on the safari, and eat an african inspired lunch.  

First we got all suited up and took some pictures. 

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Then we set off into the wild. First we went through the bird section. While we were there Jess pointed out some birds, and we got a lot of really strange looks. Not that it really bothered me – I’m used to it. My family gets strange looks whether we’re wearing strange gear or not. 😀

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After we left the bird enclosure we left the set trail, heading into the woods. Colter told me, “It feels good to be back in gear, walking through the woods again.” I laughed and agreed with him. It was the first time I’d been in a situation like that since Outward Bound, and it was really nice.

We’d been hiking for maybe five minutes when Megan’s voice came over the headset that we were required to wear. She told us that we were nearing the hippo enclosure and told us the rules we had to follow. As we got closer we all unclipped one end of the harness attached to our vests. We handed them to Jess and she clipped us onto the metal rail along the fence, letting us walk past her into the enclosure (once we were securely attached). You can see our “tails” in this photo of us above the hippo enclosure. The vehicle in the background is one of the safari trucks. 

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 One of the hippo experts met us there. He had brought along a bucket of food for the two males that we were going to see, but since they were asleep we didn’t get to watch them eat.

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After the hippo guy (I don’t remember his name) answered all of our questions, and there were a lot of them, we moved on. We continued hiking through the woods and along the way, learned some Swahili. Twende (pronounced twenday) means “let’s go”, and that has become a favorite word around here. We also learned Asante Sana, “thank you”, and Karibu Sana, “you’re welcome”. 

 We made it to the bridges over the river, and it’s a good thing that none of us is afraid of heights. 

Because this is the bridge that we were going over. Well, this is one of them. 

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 Did I mention that we were walking right over the alligators? You can see them down below all of us.

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Don’t worry though – we were attached to a super strong cable above us by the harness on our vests. Because honestly, who wants to fall into this?

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Then you’d get crushed by an alligator’s mouth… oh wait.

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KIDDING. That’s just a model they had out there for us to look at. It was surprisingly heavy. 

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We also got to go into (but above) the alligator pit:

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We were so close we were able to see them really well as the alligator expert answered our questions.  And because we’re curious, we had a lot of questions.

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I think there are 27 alligators at Animal Kingdom.

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Our guides -Megan, Jess, and Hilary – were awesome.

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Once we were done with the first half of our tour, we took off our harnesses and had our own private truck for the rest of the tour.

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We were able to get up close to a lot of the animals and we each had our own pair of binoculars.

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The truck would periodically stop so we could get up and look around.

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We got to stop at a boma (safe place) in the middle of the Savannah and have our own lunch.

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It was African inspired foods and most of it was really good.  We all even ate the flower.

 This is what the Boma looks like from the Savannah:

After lunch, we got back in our truck to see some more of the animals.  Particularly the big cats which the boys love.

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Disney-Wild-Africa-Trek_48See the sleeping lions?

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Asante sana, Jess, Megan, and Hilary!

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The Wild Africa Trek is expensive, but if you at all enjoy animals and like to ask lots of questions, and get behind the scenes, we all agreed it was absolutely worth it.  Definitely one of our best ever Disney memories!

Brett

 

 

Ice Hockey

Since it’s been so cold for the past couple of weeks, our creek is frozen solid. (Yes, completely solid.) So the kids decided that they wanted to have a little fun.

What started as tossing an empty water bottle around on the ice turned into ice hockey, using an old water bottle and some sticks.

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They had so much fun, and though the creek melted, they haven’t stopped talking about it. I have a feeling that if the creek freezes again, I know where they’ll be!

 

Making Goat Milk Soap with Colter

As a homeschooling family, I don’t want my children to just memorize facts, I want them to be able to think analytically and learn how to make good decisions. In this video, Colter talks about his role at Goat Milk Stuff, but if you listen carefully, you can hear how he puts into practice his critical thinking skills.

I am so proud of Colter and the young man he is becoming.  He is smart, responsible, capable, and he knows how to plan and to think!

PJ

 

 

Picking out a Christmas Tree

This is the first year in our new house and the children had their heart set on a HUGE tree.  So we went to a local tree farm where we first found a huge pile of geodes.

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We took a hay wagon ride to the field.

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And started looking at trees.

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Indigo kept picking out trees that wouldn’t fit in our living room!

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Once the tree was chosen, there was lots of time to play hide and seek amongst the trees.

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As well as playing on the hay wagon.

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While the farmer cut down the tree with his chain saw.

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And (fortunately) trimmed a few feet off the bottom.

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There were many hands to load the tree onto the wagon.

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And into the Beast.

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Since the tree barely fit into the Beast, I’d say they met their goal of a HUGE tree!  

What kind of Christmas tree do you get? 

PJ

 

 

New Toys

We were blessed to be invaded by family this Thanksgiving!

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Since there were quite a few extra children, Jim decided that all of the cousins were going to need some indoor activities to keep them occupied when they weren’t outside.

He planned ahead and surprised everybody with a pool table and Foosball table! 

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Fortunately Poppy was here to help put everything together with the children. 

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I’ve never been a big Foosball fan, but I love pool as a tool for teaching geometry and angles.

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Everyone had a lot of fun!   If they weren’t playing, they were hanging out on the beanbag chairs you can see in the background.

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What do you do at Thanksgiving to keep the children from destroying your house? 

PJ

 

Hiking at Charlestown State Park

Hiking has always been one of our favorite family activities.  Our local park was Charlestown State Park, but since we’ve moved, it’s over half an hour away.  We decided to go back one last time for a farewell hike and barbecue.

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Indigo had to stop and look at the moss:

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After the hike, the children played on the playground while Colter got the grill ready for our hamburgers and hot dogs.

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It was a great day!  And there aren’t any pictures of us eating because we were all too hungry so nobody took photos! LOL

Does your family often get a chance to hike together?

PJ

 

 

Family Photo Shoot

I’ve wanted to get an updated family photo for many months.  But as you can imagine, getting everyone ready is quite an endeavor.  We were supposed to do the photo last week, but with the accident, nobody was in the mood.  

All the girls need hair cuts, so I was going to do that and then get the photo taken.  But since it was a bright, overcast day (perfect for photos because there is no direct sunlight to cause too many shadows), I decided to forget the haircuts and get the photos taken.

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 I’m so pleased with how they all came out!  Which one is your favorite?

PJ

Preparing the Garden for Winter

It’s that time of the year when frost is coming and it is time to put the garden to bed for the winter.  We keep a close eye on the weather reports and about three days before the first frost is expected, we put the boys to work.  Last week Greyden and Colter picked the remaining produce off the plants. 

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The green tomatoes were all picked, washed, and frozen.  We will turn them into tomato sauce (you can mix green tomatoes with red ones) this winter.

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Anything too small or rotten was tossed to the chickens:

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The plants were pulled up.  Nightshade plants (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes) are composted.

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 Other plants are tossed into the chicken’s pen.

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The perennials like the strawberries and asparagus are weeded.

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The rest of the beds are raked out so that they are ready for rabbit manure to be added all winter long.

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I miss getting fresh produce from the garden once it is put to bed.  But having a break from garden chores for the winter keeps us enthusiastic about gardening when spring arrives.

The boys got the work done just in time.  They day after they finished, we woke up to find the first frost on the ground.

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Winter is definitely coming.  Are you still harvesting anything? 

PJ

Rainbow

Many of you know that we have been through a difficult time dealing with the trauma from being on the scene of a fatal accident.  I may write more about it later, but right now I just wanted to share with you these photos.

There is something about a rainbow that just reminds me of God’s love for us even despite tragedy.

I’m so thankful for my family.  I tell each of them that I love them every day.  They may be getting a few extra “I love you’s” for a while.

PJ

 

 

Happy Birthday, Colter!

Colter turned 15 this year! 

Colter is very patriotic and is a little bit jealous that his sister, Jade, was born on the 4th of July instead of him. 

I told him that it was his fault for taking so long.  I thought he was going to be born on the 4th too (after all, my labor started on the 3rd – yikes!!!), but he decided to wait until early morning on the 5th, so he has no one to blame but himself. LOL

But he had a good birthday.  Even if it was on the 5th!

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Colter is ridiculously a little bit pleased with being the tallest person in the family and likes to make sure that nobody forgets it!

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My favorite photo (he’s still not too old to hug is Mama):

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He’s still not as tall as Gumpy and Poppy, though:

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Since Jade got a small basketball net for her birthday, she got to present Colter his present…

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… a full sized basketball net!

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Happy Birthday, Colter!  You’ve become quite the young man!!

 

PJ

 

 

Colter’s New Position!

As the oldest Jonas son, Colter has a lot of responsibility and we’re always giving him new challenges.

He has been the Goat Manager for a while now.  That means that he is completely responsible for milking all the goats, feeding, cleaning stalls, doing vet work, trimming hooves, and pretty much anything related to the goats.  He is passing that role on to Emery so Colter can make room for a new job.

Recently Colter has taken on a new role – Soap Production Assistant.  It is now his job to work with Jim so the two of them can make more soap, faster.  He melts and measures the oils as well as the milk.

And after Jim has made the soap and poured it into the molds, Colter finishes the job by swirling the tops of the soaps and moving the molds.

 The best part of his new position is the extra time that Colter and Jim get to spend together.

 Colter works really hard and he’s earned this promotion!

PJ

 

 

Train Your Children Then Trust Them

Busy Mom’s Survival Guide Podcast Episode 026.
A few weeks ago we drove Brett and Colter to North Carolina so they could go on a two week Outward Bound excursion in the mountains of North Carolina.  It was the first time either of them were away from home.  While it was not easy to let them go, we believe that we have trained them properly and they are mature enough to handle the experience.

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During this podcast, Brett and Colter discuss what they learned from their trip and how they feel about the way they are being raised as compared to the rest of their Outward Bound crew members.

What about you?  Have you ever let your children do something away from home for an extended time period?  If so, how did it go?  If not, do you plan to?

Thanks for listening!  Tune in next week to hear me talk about family vacations.

 

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